Upgrades - Do I need them?

Should I upgrade straight away? I’ve been asked this question many times, but there’s no correct answer. If you’re using free office software like OpenOffice there’s really no reason not to upgrade. But what if you’re using Microsoft Office? Do you really need to change every time a new version is released?

The short answer would be no. Usually when a new version is released there will be at least some new features. The problem is that most people won’t notice or use them! Added to that it’s usually best to hold off on buying newly released software until at least the first round of security updates – That way other people find any little problems that didn’t get picked up before release!

So if you don’t always need the latest version, when should you progress? Generally speaking new releases will be supported by Microsoft for at least 10 years. That means that any faults or security issues found in that time will be fixed. Right now there are 3 different versions of Office which are being actively supported – 2003, 2007 and 2010. So does that mean that Office 2000 is a complete write-off? Well… No. In fact it still works fine.

Now before we all blissfully continue to use our current version of Office for the next 25 years, it is important to remember that Microsoft have made significant improvements to their software over the past 10 years. I may not personally be a fan of the ‘Ribbon menu display’ that was introduced with Office 2007, but I’d still prefer to use it than go back to Office 2000.

So when exactly should you move on? Personally I would give the same advice to business owners and home users – Upgrade every 2-3 versions. That way you can be sure you’re not spending money unnecessarily, but you’re keeping up with new functionality and security updates. New versions of Microsoft Office are generally released every 2-4 years, so this approach shouldn’t break the bank too much.

If you’re really not sure you can afford it, or you don’t think the extra functionality is worthwhile, it might be worth asking yourself

Which office software package is right for me?

A free package like OpenOffice might just suit you perfectly, and you can always have the latest version at no extra cost!

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